Ulla Barr

Artist Statement

Art has an important function to reflect what is going on in our society. I use my art as a tool to express my own feelings and thoughts. When it comes to social issues and politics I only work with matters that are closely related to my heart. I communicate what I believe in and bring it to the viewer’s attention.

In the past, I have addressed issues like the aging of women. I used granny dolls that looked like old witches whose bodies had been cut in half. The dolls were my evidence for how old women are stereotyped and viewed in our society. I was inspired by how the male Surrealists had used the middle-essential of the woman as signifier for the young woman. I took photographs of the granny dolls in different environments to show how powerful they are since they are all over the world.

Recently, my work has focused on issues relating to the environment and the war in Iraq. My Homeland Security Project sought to express the fear the post-9/11 environment created and how confused most of us were about the media’s daily reports about different color-coded threat levels of terrorist attack probability. I created this middle-aged woman who is totally consumed of fear and well prepared for a possible terror attack. My image The Vicious Circle of Oil and War expresses our dangerous dependency on oil. Instead of finding renewable energy sources, we continue our fight for more oil.

I continue to work with the oil issue and with my next piece I will ask the viewer why we continue to drive around large, gas-guzzling pick-up trucks and SUVs. Is it morally right to sacrifice young American soldiers and our environment just so we can continue our selfish oil-madness?


2000 MFA California State University, Long Beach
1994 BA Studio Art University of California, Irvine
1971 Teaching Diploma Lararhogskolan Goteborg, Sweden


Ulla Barr was born in Sweden. She worked there as a school teacher before immigrating to the United States, where she became an American housewife and reared up three wonderful daughters. When they became more independent, she decided to follow her heart and become an artist.

She started her artistic studies at Saddleback Community College and transferred to University of California, Irvine, where she received a BA in studio art. She received her MFA in photography at California State University, Long Beach.

Barr has exhibited locally and nationally at places including the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art, I-5 Gallery and the SCWCA Gallery at The Brewery, Orlando Museum of Art, BC Gallery, Cal State Long Beach University Art Museum and the Fine Art Gallery at UC Irvine.

She has also shown at the Huntington Beach Art Center, where she was chosen from an open non-juried exhibition to participate in their curated show, Four from the Floor. This show was reviewed in the Los Angeles Times and Barr’s photo, Goose, was shown alongside the review. The same year, she participated in the national Women’s Caucus for Art (WCA) juried exhibition, Feminism a World Power, in conjunction with their national conference at the Artemisia Gallery in Chicago.

Barr is a member of the Eco-art Collective sponsored by the Southern California Women’s Caucus for Art (SCWCA) and participated in their 2007 Eco Art exhibition at the Junior Arts Center Gallery in Barnsdall Park, Los Angeles and the 2012 Wilderness Mind: Dissolving Duality exhibition at Angels Gate Cultural Center in San Pedro, CA.

She has been an active member of WCA since 1998. She served on their national board as Regional Vice-President for the Southwest, as Chapter’s Council board Member, and as Committee Chair for the group that oversees the Networking, Matrix and Benefits on the board. She has served on the SCWCA board and represented them as their Chapter Representative at the WCA’s board meetings.

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